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my3sons 07-17-2012 04:19 PM

Black/Grey water guages swapped

This Spring, I purchased a 2013 Surveyor Sport (295) that appears to have been built on a Monday...

My 'information center' in the bathrooom has buttons to show the level of black water, grey water, fresh water, and the battery charge. What I've discovered is that when the black water shows full, it's really telling me that the grey water is full (and vice versa).

The dealer thought I was imagining it when I told him. So, I paid more attention and when I've got the black water button showing full and the grey water showing 1/2 full, I can pull the grey water handle, leave it open for 5-10 min and then close it. I retry the black water button and it shows empty while the grey water button still shows 1/2 full. So, to me, that says someone wired them backwards to the information center. Dealer still doesn't seem to want to deal with it (maybe because it's parked at a permanent site 60 miles from the dealer and he doesn't want to travel that far to fix it).

The information center has 5 wires connecting to the back (4 guages plus ground, I'm assuming). Does anyone know which color wire is connected to which tank in a correct configuration? It looks like I could take 2 wires out of the connector and swap them if I can figure out which is which. Since there's only the 5 wires, I could use a trial and error method and just start swapping wires until I get it right but I'd rather minimize the time I spend fixing a new camper and maximize the time I'm enjoying it.

Any help would be appreciated.


DAISY BOYKIN 07-17-2012 04:29 PM

Well being you are 60 miles-------------
Being you are 60 miles from your dealer, you might have to bite the bullet and use trial and error by disconnecting one wire at a time until you find
what wire goes to the black tank. Then do like wise until you find the gray tank wire. Then, it will be a simple process of enjoying your time after you have corrected the problem by switching the two wires.:confused:


my3sons 07-17-2012 04:38 PM

Thank you.

Thanks. Won't be at the camper until this Friday. If no one else has the information, I'll go that route and document what I find here when I get back from the camper in case anyone else runs into a similar issue.


TURBS 07-17-2012 05:18 PM

I wouldn't rely on your gauges to be even remotely correct even if there marked correctly.
On my old tt the black tank revealed 2/3 full when empty then the next time showed empty when empty.
I piece of toilet paper on a sensor will throw a wrench in it all.
That being said its possible that there switched but my money is inaccurate readings.

Try the (geo-method) on keeping tanks clean that's my opinion.

Drain gray water then fill with hose and watch readings?

goodneelix 07-17-2012 06:37 PM

Also, wouldn't it be simpler to simply change the labels on the switches?

Terier 07-17-2012 06:42 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Edit note: Just saw that Goodneelix already said this.

Wouldn't it be easier to apply new labels to the sensor display box instead of trying to swap out wires? There are good label makers on the market that make nice looking labels that don't look cheesy.

A label maker can come in handy for labeling all kinds of things including powercord chargers that tend to look alike but aren't the same.

Attachment 16662

my3sons 07-18-2012 07:50 AM


I do have a rather nice p-touch label maker and thought about doing that to the switches. The issue I (well, my wife :)) have with that is an aesthetic one. When I think about modifications to the camper, I'm thinking in terms of mods that improve its usefulness or aesthetics vs trying to hide something done wrong at the factory.

The wiring on the back of the switches looks pretty simple to rework (pair of needle nose pliers to pull the wire out and a small flat screwdriver to push it back in) so I figured I could leave the 'original beauty' of the 4-button panel :) and just swap a couple of wires (once I figure out which wire is for which button).

I do appreciate the suggestion though. I may just need to bring mine along this weekend when I swap the wires so that I can label the wires before pushing them back into the wall behind the panel.



webmeister 07-18-2012 08:03 AM

How about switch the pull handle labels?

my3sons 07-18-2012 08:12 AM


I'm a little confused by your suggestion. Are you referring to the handles that open up the tanks to drain? If so, they're technically not labeled. They are, however, color coded on my Surveyor. My grey tank has a grey handle and my black tank has a black handle. A simple little thing but it does tend to help make it 'foolproof' for someone new to camping in a 'hard-side' (my previous camper was a pop-up without a bathroom).


my3sons 07-18-2012 09:01 AM

f1100turbo (Ron),

The dealer warned me that the sensors in the black water tank could catch debris and show the tank fuller than reality. My Surveyor came with a 'rinse-out' connection to the black water. To the right of the outdoor kitchen on my camper is a water connection. This connection goes right into the black water tank (there's some form of sprayer built into the tank to wash down the sides).

My dealer highly suggested that whenever I drain the black tank, I hook up a garden hose to this water connection and run water through for ~5 min to rinse the sides of the tank down to minimize the chance of something being hung up on a sensor. A useful feature on this model.

There is not a similar feature for the grey water (although, I wouldn't expect a need for one either). But, the dealer did point out that, much like when you cook pasta in a pot a home, a thin film could build up on the inside of the grey tank from the soap from the shower and kitchen sink. He suggested cutting open one of the packets used for the black tank and carefully pouring it down a drain to the grey tank to try to minimize the 'scum' buildup.

I will search the forums for the geo-method to see what that is and how it works. Thank you very much for the suggestion.


TURBS 07-18-2012 09:09 AM

Your welcome!
I've had my current 5er for right at a year and I use Geo method in black tank, gray tank for shower and gray tank for kitchen sink for the reasons you mentioned (scimitar build up) on sensors.
To my knowledge and due diligence I believe my tank sensors are pretty accurate to actual tank levels because of geo-method.
My past tt they were never correct I believe due to not knowing about the geo-method and ecumenical build up on sensors.

I also think the benefit of black tank flush is 100 times fold a "must have"

Good luck!


webmeister 07-18-2012 09:49 AM

Well, it is possible that the pull cables that open your tanks are backwards. Getting in to switch those pull cables would be involved, but doable. i was just suggesting you label the Gray handle "Black" & label the black handle "Gray" until you can find time to fix. :)

my3sons 07-18-2012 10:46 AM

Pull Handles

I understand what you're saying now but I'm going to stick with trying to swap the electrical wires on the back of the panel as a first choice. For 2 reasons. First, we're kind of in a heat wave here in Southern MN and working inside where there's A/C is preferrable vs outside where the handles are located. Second, standing up or sitting down wins over lying on my back under the camper doing the work.

Good suggestion but I'll avoid the hard work until it's absolutely necessary (and the temps max out in the 80's).


Terier 07-18-2012 11:11 AM

Why not have the dealer fix this problem since this is a new unit?

my3sons 07-18-2012 11:24 AM


I'm still working that (and getting annoyed). I don't have a tow vehicle capable of towing the camper to the dealer. We signed up for a permanent site at the campground and paid the dealer to tow it there. It's about 60 miles from the dealer and the dealer seems reluctant to drive that distance for something as simple as this. He's trying to track down the wiring information for me but I asked for it a few times and his response has been the same. I'm sure if I got it towed back to the dealer, he'd fix it quickly.

I tried going to Forest River's website but found no method to contact/complain to them about the mis-wiring so am trying these forums for suggestions/help. (To me, it looks like a pure marketing website, not one where you can also get help.) At this point, it's an annoyance that the readings are opposite the labels. I can still tell when one of them is full, I just need to pull the opposite drain valve than what the guage tells me I should pull.

I'm also trying to exercise a bit of patience with the dealer as this is the 2nd camper I've bought from him and he was always good to work with previously and treated me fairly in both purchases. But, the annoyance factor is starting to surpass my patience.

I'm at the point where I think I'll just follow Sid's advice and pull one wire at a time to see which guage stops reporting, label the wires, and hook them back up properly.


Terier 07-18-2012 11:50 AM

Sorry, I forgot about the permanent site part. One downside to using the "View first unread" feature as is that some key points or details can easily be forgotten.

You might find contact phone number on your paperwork or brochure. A while back when I did a search for a phone number for FR a couple of phone numbers came up.

VinceU 07-18-2012 12:51 PM

Suggest send a PN to Herk77659, he has posted schematics and instructions for these in the past. The color wires you see are common to all 3 tanks levels. The electronics separates the signals for display, swapping what you see may make it worse! Good luck......

TURBS 07-18-2012 12:52 PM


Originally Posted by VinceU
Suggest send a PN to Herk77659, he has posted schematics and instructions for these in the past. The color wires you see are common to all 3 tanks levels. The electronics separates the signals for display, swapping what you see may make it worse! Good luck......


my3sons 07-18-2012 01:08 PM


Thank you for the warning. I will proceed cautiously and take pictures along the way so I can put it back the way I found it if I can't figure it out. Since I won't be at the camper till this weekend to get a part number, I'll make sure to grab that as well.

Thanks again.


VinceU 07-18-2012 07:59 PM


Originally Posted by my3sons (Post 224444)

Thank you for the warning. I will proceed cautiously and take pictures along the way so I can put it back the way I found it if I can't figure it out. Since I won't be at the camper till this weekend to get a part number, I'll make sure to grab that as well.

Thanks again.


I see Herk hasn't picked up on it yet, you can also search the green box at the top of each FR Forum page for "tank level indicators" there's tons of threads there and you can probably find your system.

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